New in Natural Scene Designer 5.0

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Spherical Rendering Mode
Simulate views from space with Natural Scene Designer 5's new spherical terrain option. The atmosphere thickness, haze, and sky colors are adjustable.

Image of California's Central Valley

Transparent Sky
The Render Picture dialog now has an option to create a transparent sky. Using this option, you can merge a terrain rendering with a real sky photograph in an image editing program, as shown in the example below..

Overlay Manager
A new window is now available to show a list of all overlays and their stacking order. It is convenient for selecting overlays and it has buttons at the top which let you perform various operations.

Elevation storage
Version 5.0 stores elevation values with much greater precision. The previous version rounded all elevations to the nearest meter. The increased precision in this version goes a long way to reduce or elimate ‘terracing’ or ‘stair-stepping’ artifacts in low sloping areas.

Terrain CD/DVD ROM vertical precision
Natural Scene Designer 5.0 now uses the full vertical precision of all Natural Graphics Terrain CD/DVD-ROMs released since 2003. Most have a vertical precision of 1/8 meter. With this program and the elevation preference set to ‘Floating Point’, existing terrain data looks much better.

Vertical exaggeration
In prior versions, vertical exaggeration was an action -- it altered the stored elevations. Version 5 does not alter the stored terrain. Instead, it multiplies the elevation times the exaggeration factor as it is rendered. This allows you to change the exaggeration factor as many times as you need, without changing the accuracy of the elevation values.

Distance, Height, and Sky Mask
These rendering options are now available in the Render Picture dialog. You can create mask images to use along with full renderings for special effects.

Load/Save GeoTIFF
The program now imports and exports GeoTIFFs, which are TIFF images with embedded georeferencing information. Most GeoTIFF tags are supported.

TIFF transparency
The program can open, render, and save full 32 bit per pixel TIFFs which include an alpha (transparency) channel.

Transparent overlays
NSD 5 will now let you drape an image with transparency over the terrain. Transparent areas will show the terrain or the overlay below it in the stacking order (if any).

Transparent colors
For images without an alpha channel, you can pick a color to be viewed as transparent within a tolerance that you specify.

Shaded relief coloring
The elevations specified in the Shaded Relief dialog are now the transition points between colors. Version 4 interpreted them as midpoints.

Camera Window aspect ratio
There is a new Preferences setting which allows you to change the aspect ratio of the camera window to either a set value, or to match the most recently rendered image. This helps you compose the view so that it will match the final rendered image.

GridFloat DEMs
The File menu has a new function to export a DEM as a GridFloat file. Prior versions could only import them.

New animation file types
Animations may be saved as AVI™ movies, QuickTime™ movies, or separate BMP™, JPEG™, TIFF™, or PNG files. The previous version could save them only as QuickTime movies..

Images can be opened and saved as PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files.

Single Pixel Overlay Positioning
When an overlay is selected on the map window, the arrow keys will move it by one pixel.